“We’re looking for a modern, practical kitchen, made using solid wood” Part 2

After studying the previous images shown in Part 1, recycled Oregon was chosen for the fascia timbers: this wood being available, the right colour and most importantly, affordable enough to fit into Laura and Michael’s budget. A few samples were prepared and they were invited to the workshop to inspect them. The interiors would be built using E2 environmentally friendly, moisture resistant white board. The construction work using this would be carried out in the workshop and then moved to the house for installation and fitting of the timber doors, drawers and framing. See pictures of the partial completion of the kitchen.





Don’t fake it if you can’t afford it

This article from the “Heckler” column, was first published during 2013 in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. It’s remained in my clippings and I still think it’s fun! Thank you Stephen Lacey – wherever you are.

Why is it that normally respectable folks, who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a fake Rolex, or carrying a fake Louis Vuitton, think it’s fine to fill their houses with fake designer furniture?

Apart from the dubious ethics involved in stealing some impoverished Danish designer’s hard work, and supporting a Chinese sweatshop industry where toddlers are whipped until they make enough chair legs, isn’t there something terribly desperate about wanting a house full of cheap rip-offs?

Most of these fakes are so built down to a price they they don’t even begin to approximate the quality and attention to detail of the real thing. There’s a reason why a real Eames lounge chair will set you back the best part of six grand, while a papier-mache and sticky-tape version can be had for less than $1000.

Then there’s the question of proportions. The copycat manufacturers can’t ever seem to get it quite right; it’s as if they failed geometry at high school. Sit in a faux Pierre Paulin orange slice chair and you might never climb out again without the help of a chiropractor. And if you think the real Barcelona chair is damn uncomfortable, wait until you try the one from Zhejiang; it’s enough to give you sciatica just looking at it.

But one of the main reasons I can’t stand homes full of fakery, is they all seem to be right out of the same furniture-fakes-for-people-with-no-imagination catalogue. Panton chair? Tick. Noguchi coffee table? Tick. You can be sure, the only ”real” designer object in the home will be the useless Alessi Juicy Salif citrus squeezer somebody once bought for a wedding gift.

Look, I understand not everybody can stump up $1000 for a genuine Nelson platform bench. And I get it that only a small proportion of people can fork out $10,000 for an Arne Jacobsen egg chair. But seriously, if you can’t afford the real thing, you can’t afford the real thing. I can’t afford to live in Kellyville, but I haven’t resorted to removing the eaves from my house so it looks like I do.
Here’s an idea. Start a savings plan(call it your Eames account), borrow the money from your wealthy aunt in Bowral, or at least invest in some original Australian designs that won’t break the bank.

Because really, where does it all end? It starts out with just a couple of replica chairs, and pretty soon your whole damn life is just a fake.

Stephen Lacey

A custom kitchen challenge

Project: replace existing kitchen cupboards with white painted timber units.
Location: small heritage sandstone & brick house, Woollahra, Sydney, Australia

Carrie was looking for cabinetry to complement her kitchen with its raw brick walls, exposed Oregon timber roof framing and clay tile floor. Wanting to avoid the veneer-board look, she chose an Australian sustainable plantation “hoop pine” timber which, when painted, would have a solidity and depth equal to the other materials in the room.

Two other considerations for the project were an existing thick marble top around the sink and under the window to be retained – and the many exposed pipes and electrical wiring from previous times. Carrie couldn’t part with the marble top which had gained charm from use, as a natural material does. She also needed the pipes, wires, taps and other utilities to be accessible yet hidden without too much loss of storage space.

Mid project, Carrie changed her mind about the timber work top, deciding to go with a metal surface instead. The workshop was able to change specifications and a bespoke stainless steel top was ordered.

The benefit of personal service and custom design!




Story Poles have arrived

These poles really add a surprise element to the river and will make people consider the cultural heritage of this part of Sydney. Sometimes the beauty of the river and the views that can be experienced looking along its length with the mangroves on either side, make you think of the original occupants and their lives. The story poles will increase this awareness. Lets hope they are respected by all who find them.